7.Sept 2020



EU voices ‘concern’, casting shadow over Serbia-Kosovo talks, as Kosovo president attempts to calm Muslims’ fears.

The EU has voiced “serious concern and regret” over Belgrade’s commitment to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, casting a shadow over the resumption of Serbia-Kosovo talks.

President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti are to meet in Brussels for a second round of EU-brokered, face-to-face talks to resolve two decades of disputes after clashing in war.

The meeting follows a high-profile summit at the White House where Vucic and Hoti agreed to improve economic relations – and in Serbia’s case, following in the US’s footsteps, committing to moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

But the EU remains committed to the so-called “two state solution” in which Jerusalem will be the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state, with its own diplomatic mission is in Tel Aviv.

The bloc expects prospective members such as Serbia to align with its foreign policy positions.

“In this context, any diplomatic steps that could call into question the EU’s common position on Jerusalem are a matter of serious concern and regret,” EU foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano told reporters in Brussels.

Breaking with long-standing diplomatic practice, US President Donald Trump’s administration in December 2017 recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy to the city.

‘Now, we shall have more powerful allies’

Washington touted the agreements signed by Vucic and Hoti on Friday as a major breakthrough, but on Monday the two leaders issued a joint statement giving a far more cautious read.

“The recently agreed documents in Washington DC, building on previous dialogue-related commitments undertaken by the two parties, could provide a useful contribution to reaching a comprehensive, legally binding agreement on normalisation of relations,” the statement said.